With world leaders backing away from reaching a legally binding treating on climate change in Copenhagen next month, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives delivered a powerful message at the Climate Vulnerable Forum last week.
Here is an excerpt from his moving call to action:
“We gather in this hall today, as some of the most climate-vulnerable nations on Earth.
We are vulnerable because climate change threatens to hit us first; and hit us hardest.
And we are vulnerable because we have modest means with which to protect ourselves from the coming disaster.
We are a diverse group of countries.
But we share one common enemy.
For us, climate change is no distant or abstract threat; but a clear and present danger to our survival.
Climate change is melting the glaciers in Nepal.
It is causing flooding in Bangladesh.
It threatens to submerge the Maldives and Kiribati.
And in recent weeks, it has furthered drought in Tanzania, and typhoons in the Philippines.
We are the frontline states in the climate change battle.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Developing nations did not cause the climate crisis.
We are not responsible for the hundreds of years of carbon emissions, which are cooking the planet.
But the dangers climate change poses to our countries, means that this crisis can no longer be considered somebody else’s problem.
Carbon knows no boundaries.
Whether we like it or not, we are all in this fight together.”
President Nasheed goes on to say about Copenhagen:
“At the moment every country arrives at the negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible. They never make commitments, unless someone else does first.”
“This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide.”
“We don’t want a global suicide pact. And we will not sign a global suicide pact, in Copenhagen or anywhere. So today, I invite some of the most vulnerable nations in the world, to join a global survival pact instead.”
To read the complete speech and sign a pact to stand with President Nasheed for the survival of all nations and peoples, go to the 350.org website. For more information about which nations are most vulnerable to climate change, and why, go the UK Government’s webpage “Act On Copenhagen”.